Lawyers Upset Over Proposed Chancery Building Sale

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The Auckland District Law Society has once again become the subject of controversy among members with the decision to sell its iconic Chancery Building after earlier deciding against such a sale.

The ADLS has 3500 members and in July rejected a move to sell the building.

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That decision has now been reversed with ADLS president Joanna Pidgeon (left) signing a deal to sell the building for $14.9 million in a move that has angered ADLS members.

The decision is reportedly dependent upon a further vote from members and Ms Pidgeon said was a decision that was made due to the erthquake issue with the building, which has been the ADLS headquarters since 1989.

BusinessDesk reported that members have until Dec. 10 to vote on the proposed deal, and if they vote ‘Yes’ the sale becomes unconditional on Dec. 12 – less than three weeks away.

Barrister Helen White, who is a Chancery Chambers tenant, ADLS member and opponent of the sale, was angry after the revelations yesterday. Meeting with BusinessDesk alongside fellow lawyers Jim Thompson and Will McKenzie, White said the ADLS had no right showing potential purchasers around and allowing them to do seismic testing, when members had explicitly told the law society at the vote in July they didn’t want it to look at a sale.

“How could she sign [the unconditional agreement] having made those representations?”

The report also indicated that among other issues involving the ADLS was the desire to reform its administration and bring it more into line with a modern, incorporated society rather than in its current mode operating like its erstwhile regulatory role.

The Society was previsiously the subject of major controversy when the Council, under Keith Berman’s stewardship voted  in favour of recommending to members that ADLS incorporate under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (“LCA”) to preserve ADLS assets and services “for future generations of lawyers” and which was largely focused on the Chancery building asset, then in the books for $12 million.

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